Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sports Illustrated Curse

I am not superstitious. I really am not.

Black cats. Love 'em.

Ladders. I'll walk under them.

Mirrors. Watch we break 'em.

But Sports Illustrated Covers - now that curse may in fact be real.

Last year's five cover spectacular for the final four - Kansas, Ohio State, Villanova, Syracuse, Gonzaga. None in the final four.

This year's five covers: Ohio State, Brigham Young, Duke, . . . and now Kansas. A stunning upset by Virginia Commonwealth. Who are these people, these Virginia Commonwealthians. wealthiers. wealthiwhatevers.

Was it a curse or did the Jayhawks play poorly? Was it a curse or did the Commoners play well?

I'm certainly not in a position to tell you. All I can say is, if I were coach I wouldn't want my team on the cover of SI going into the tournament.

(Oh, BTW, I predicted this on facebook weeks ago. Sooooooorry to be right.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Waffle day

Shot this on main street yesterday.

Was waffleday a success? It looked like it. The waffles at the Crown were great. Was going to eat at BBC, but the crowd was too big. There were people shopping at Andersons, at Hemslöjd and the Blacksmith Coffee.

We need more events like this one! Folks, this was very positive and the planners deserve congratulations.

Crown, how about a vegetarian entree? That would make a great addition to your menu.

Gigi: Almost American - Ep #2 - Donate Good Cause

It's not quite credible that anyone who comes to America from any European country would be this bad with English and this out of touch with American culture. But, it's funny and interesting.

The interesting part is the high production value added to this Damn Channel series for these four minute slapstick episodes. I don't know how they're going to pay for the production as things progress. We'll have to see.

This joins Chad Vader, Night Manager and the Lisa Kudrow series as the new look of video production. It's not like film production, but not quite ready for prime time or any time on the TV set.

It's my conviction that this is the future of entertainment and news - these short pieces with high production value. What I want to do at Bethany is make it possible to produce pieces that are as well done as this one -- and better than this.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fantasy Fears for the Teens

When Saint Ronnie was first elected our pontifex maximus he ran on a platform of ending the reign of the welfare queen. You remember her, don't you? The resident of Harlem with two solid gold Cadillacs who bought them with all the extra food stamps she scammed from the rest of us by claiming to have 150 offspring for whom she could collect child support from the State. Suckin' at the National teat she grew rich and fat and the rest of us were left to foot the bill.

Well, Saint Ronnie fixed her wagon, didn't he!

He also fixed the wagon of those obstructionist unionized Air Traffic Controllers! Another group of swine absolutely bathing in the public trough.

But he didn't fix all the feared scam artists and shysters and welfare queens.

Now, thanks to Rethuglican efforts in the teens we'll get the rest of those who think they can get a free ride from the state - and some other freebooters too.

First, we have to solve the massive voter fraud. There were, what, 29 cases, or maybe 129 cases of voter fraud in ten years in Kansas. My God, do you realize what that means! Sibelius' election was probably due to voter fraud!

Then we have to stop those swine the unionized teachers, social workers, fire fighters, police officers who are just sucking us dry with their unreasonable demands to be paid a decent wage and be part of the American Middle class. They don't have real jobs, they work for us. We made their work for them and they ought to be grateful!

And we have to stop the teenagers who are out having unprotected sex and singing about Fridays and Saturdays and Pants and all that other stuff that Ark Music Factory has devil tooled on our butts. They're having sex and getting pregnant and having abortions like it was candy! I know they are. And then they're claiming it on their income tax as a medical expense and that means we, the taxpayers, are really footing the bill for their abortions.

Oh yeah, and the baby boomers who are now trying to get a free ride after aborting all their children at public expense and now they think they can retire!

So, stop the brown babies from being born as anchors for terrorist baby boomer retirees who want to rob us of our hard earned pay! Stop it now! Support Rethuglican Initiatives! They all know that we were better off back in the 19th century. And anyone who says otherwise is just itchin' to taste some lead!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kudos to Carla

I've just spent time with Carla Wilson, helping her get a rear projection screen to work.

Carla's working at this for Messiah Church. She's a member there. I'm a member at Bethany.

Carla's working on this so that she doesn't have to paint a huge mural of the back wall at the last Supper.

This is Carla's project. This is Carla's project for Carla's church.

Yet, here I am working on getting this thing to work for her, taking home her graphic file to see if I can't get it resized so it will work. And Earl was there too; he built the frame for the rear projection screen. He's going to come to the theatre department to borrow 1X lumber and hinges.

Did I mention that this is Carla's project.

As I was coming out of Sandzen gallery, having complimented Larry on the bees they've already attracted, I thought - damn, that woman is good. She's got me helping on her project without offering me anything in return or having to bribe me or do anything for me in return for my doing something for her. She just got me feeling that I could and should help her on this project.

I think that's a good thing for a CVB person to be able to do, but I'm not sure Carla realizes that she is as persuasive as she is.

Congrats to Carla, my Lindsborg Citizen of the Day! I might even go to Messiah on Maundy Thursday, just to see how the tableau turns out.

How Do We Manage Healthcare

Financially, things are not going the best they possibly could.

We screwed up a little, but we also have medical bills we really don't need. Kris is battling with the insurance company to get a prescription covered. I've stopped taking two medications because the deductibles went up and the benefits were outweighed by the costs.

Kris had to have two mammograms because the radiologist who reads these new mammograms is very careful. I went back to the urologist with a PSA higher than normal - but lower than it had been when we did a shove up and clip test - and the urologist wanted to do another procedure despite the fact that he had done this less than six months earlier and found nothing.

The mammogram costs approximately $200 per - an increase. The urological procedure about $1000.

Are the physicians aware of what's happening to costs and who's having to pay the costs? I don't think so. I think that our doctors, in particular, who have their hands full just don't know what it's costing the patient.

Single payer is the answer!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Do You Need to Pack?

I should be going to bed, but instead I'm reading blogs. One I really like, but don't have in my blog roll is "slacktivist." That blog referenced a CNBC report on who's profiting from fear these days.

No surprise, it's the usual crowd of fundagelicals, including that most foul and noxious of all the fundagelical preachers, John Hagee. Here's Hagee not so long ago, according to the CNBC piece:

Hagee is a popular televangelist and senior pastor of the 19,000 member Cornerstone Church. His website offers a DVD called “Financial Armageddon” for $12 and is signing up registrations for a prophesy seminar in Sacramento in April for $10.
Here’s a highlight from his most recent online newsletter, in which he analyses the uprising in Egypt. “Get ready! Planet earth is about to become the playground for the Anti-Christ and his New World Order. The church will be raptured before the Anti-Christ appears; and I believe he could be introduced in Europe at any time. Pray up! Pack up! ”
I'm confused. Do you really need to pack for the rapture? I thought you just got taken out of where ever you were and transported into cloud coo-coo land with all your belongings but none of your longings.

If you want to read the whole article, it's here:

Finished - Sort of

Tah-dah! I've finished the first paper from my sabbatical research!

The Front Page -- a Scene-Act analysis is complete. It needs to be read and proof read and read again, but it is basically finished and ready to go to Professor Cheseboro for reading and response. I'm a bit nervous about that, because he's one whose work I've read since graduate school. I know my argument is sound and that the paper is reasonable and that I'm not pushing my conclusion too far - yet - but I'm still nervous.

Maybe I should comment further upon the significance of the disappearance of the ethnic identifiers - how it parallels the community's disappearance - and how the stereotypical Swedish Male in comedy is a rhetorical homology with the experience of Black folks in film. But, we'd also have to note that Swedes could escape into general white society while blacks, Asians and Latins could not. That's part of the point of the book to come, but isn't really germane to the paper.

Well, I'll see what comes next after I read the text one more time tomorrow. I hope to have this emailed to the reviewer by Monday. I also have to cut for presentation's sake. But that's not bad. Half the research is done. Sort of.

I am going to do more with this in the next few weeks. I plan on going to the Newberry Library and have a look to see what Hecht might have said about the film. I'm also going to the Historical Society to see if there are any comments about either the play or the movie in the Swedish press. But, for the conference presentation, the paper is done.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brook Green Suite

We should be proud of our high school. This is the Chamber Orchestra. How many small town High Schools still have a string program? I doubt that there are many.

Sarah Vowell, several years ago in a This American Life program gave a very funny take on the difference between Band and Orchestra. The Orchestra, she said, wore tuxedoes. The Band wore tuxedo t-shirts. It was, she maintained, like throwing a bag of skittles into a box of Swiss chocolates to mix the Band kids with the Orchestra kids.

Of course, that was in the much larger metropolis of Bozeman, Montana. Here in tiny Lindsborg there is a great tradition of music. The High School is doing its best to preserve that tradition, making music important in the lives of these young people. Hurrah for them! I hope we keep it up despite budget cuts, difficult times and uncertain economies. The music from last night proved the worth of the program.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Teachers are Not the Enemy

The Salina Journal buried the story -- it contradicts Tom Bell's rather vapid editorial lauding the Kansas legislature for not having to bother with things like Teachers' Unions.

It was an AP story about why the US students scores place the country 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. This is testing of 15 y.o.s in an International Assessment of these skills. Thirty four countries are part of the assessment, so the US now ranks in the lower half in math and science skills.

Part of the reason -- other countries attract the best and the brightest to teaching. We don't. We don't because we underpay, under-value, berate, and generally make education less of a priority than football. We devalue our teachers and tell them that they should be glad that we let them have any kind of job, those worthless bureaucratic swine swilling at the public trough.

Not only are teachers in high performing countries highly valued and well paid, science is also highly valued. We may brag about our research facilities, but those facilities will soon be staffed by non-Americans, because Americans don't do science. We do creationism. We do climate denialism. We do all kinds of pseudo-science and despise the people who do actual science. Texas is about to pass a law that so devalues science that it will call the discrimination against non-scientists attempting to claim a scientific mantel a crime.

This is ridiculous. If we want to stop this, we can. But we have to want to and, I'm afraid, we'll have to fight for it. The know-nothings are in charge and are unwilling to let any facts, test scores, or inconvenient truths stand in the way of their charge back to the 19th century.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Worst Song Ever?

Rebecca Black's "Friday": Worst Song Ever - Watch more Funny Videos

Is this truly the worst song ever? It is terrible, but is it any worse than any number of bubble gum songs of the 70s, most of disco, and much of the lame in hip hop. My milkshakes, for example, is lame. C'mon. It's lame. So is "Good Morning Starshine, the earth says hello." Particularly the chorus.

I admit, autotune takes this to a hole noder lebel of lame.

Everything They Can

Listening to P4, Sveriges Radio.

Just now the reporters from Stockholm are interviewing a young Swedish woman living in Tokyo. They ask, "Are you satisfied with the way the authorities are handling the nuclear power plant accident?" She responds, "You have to believe that they are doing everything that they can."

In an emergency like this, when the only organization that is big enough, and hopefully able to muster the proper expertise, is the government, one has to believe that they are doing everything that they can. Why would they not?

Yet, in a recent Soda Head survey on the issue more of those surveyed than not responded that the government was not to be trusted, even in this extremity. One even quoted Reagan's saw about "The most frightening words are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

Perhaps the saddest commentary on the American right wing is that they don't have the maturity to recognize that there are times when the government must step in and help and there are times when the government should stay out of the way. That's a lesson the left had to learn in the 1970's and 80's. It is a lesson that most of the right either is ideologically disposed not to learn or too immature to see.

Schools, roads, national defense, national parks and a post office are among those things that government must do because no one else is capable of doing the job. Emergencies like the nuclear melt down or the oil spill are also things on which we must believe that government is doing everything they can.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Saltoluokta Mountain Concert -The Original Swedish Arvika Blues Breakers

Every now and again the blues can make you feel good. Here's one. Can we get these guys here in Lindsborg for Hyllningsfest? Just askin'

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wisconsin ReThuglicans

Yes, it's an ad hominem, but I think it's and accurate one.

In the dark of night, with no debate, without even giving the Democrat at the table the satisfaction of having the reconciled bill explained, and in violation of Wisconsin state laws, the Republicans behaved like 19th century robber baron owned political bullies and pushed through the bill that strips public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.
When they did it, the people outside the room hollered "shame, shame."
Republicans have no shame.
Witness Wisconsin.
Witness Florida, where the Republican Governor is taking 7 billion out of Education and giving it to big business, and promising to make business taxes zero out.
Witness Kansas where the Tea Party Republicans have made the legal medical option of abortion impossible, required voters to bring their birth certificate to the polling place and removed your educational opportunities if your parents are illegal immigrants.
And we're just getting started.
Wait till we get to Education. Watch K-12 education get gutted.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Postponed Again?

I'm scheduled to give a talk to the Historical Society tonight.

This is the third try. And we've got a prediction for snow again tonight. Is this talk just not supposed to be?

I've had better luck on the Front Page presentation. Did that last Thursday - and it was a great presentation, but way too long. Tonight we're back to a Greta presentation.

Preliminary to that I'm watching on old, old Harry Carey Western with Greta in a fairly large co-starring role. Two things strike me about this serial, Carey's age and the clomp, clomp of the horse hoofs.

Carey was in his mid-fifties when he did this Western series, and he looks it. He's not the young, dashing cowboy hero, he's the cowboy as a tired, middle aged battler of evil (incarnated in a very fat Noah Berry).

And the hoof beats a just like they're supposed to be - if Monty Python's horses are any gauge of horse clomps. They sound just like the coconuts being clomped. Probably because they were.